Touched by the Graces: The Libretti of Philippe Quinault in the Context of French Classicism

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Summa Publications, Inc., 2001 - Religion - 402 pages
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In the history of French classicism Philippe Quinault is unique: there is no other author (including Racine, Moliere, and Corneille) whose plays were performed so frequently and who was remunerated so generously during the classical period. This book, which fills a void in the study of classical drama, is equally unique: the first in English on Quinault and the first comprehensive study in any language of the libretti he composed in collaboration with Jean-Baptiste Lully from 1673 to 1686. After situating the libretti in the context of French classicism, the author first discusses the prologues to the Quinault-Lully operas, then devotes a chapter to each of the libretti in which he examines such traditional literary elements as performance history, plot, characterization, and style, as well as issues more specifically related to musical theater. The concluding chapter summarizes what opera can tell us about French classicism and explores in depth some of the key theoretical issues such as representation, imitation, and recognition. This volume will appeal to a broad spectrum of readers: specialists in seventeenth-century French theater, musicologists, music lovers who are interested in early opera, and those whose research focuses on the interrelationship of music and literature.
 

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Contents

Introduction Issues and Contexts
1
Prologues The King Comes First
45
Cadmus et Hermione A Recipe for Success
69
Alceste The Creation of a Style
93
Thésée Omnia vincunt amor gloriaque
125
Atys The Tragic Chord on the Lyre
157
his Beyond Tragedy
185
Proserpine Prudent Sexual Politics in a Patriarchal World
213
Persee Rivals All Around
237
Phaeton Ambition Leads to a Fall
259
Amadis New Directions and Familiar Themes
281
Roland Women Madness and Music
305
Armide Charms and the Man
325
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About the author (2001)

Buford Norman is Jesse Chapman Alcorn Memorial Professor of French at the University of South Carolina.

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